|G8 Students' Summit|
Two UWC students contribute to a summit aimed at guaranteeing a voice for young people in the G8 debates.
First year UWC Adriatic students Ieva Dudaite from Lithuania and Viviana Calmasini from Italy attended the G8 University Students’ Summit to debate worldwide development strategies. The students were chosen by the College to represent UWC at the event, held in Palermo, Sicily on 8-9th May. UWC was the only pre-university educational institution invited to the event – all the other students who attended were university and post graduate students, coming from the G8, the Outreach Five (O5) (China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa), and the countries that border the Mediterranean.
The students debated two key issues at the summit – education for lawfulness and peace as well as sustainable development education. Key note speeches were given by Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends; Piero Grasso, National Anti-Mafia Public Prosecutor and Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Indian Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Ieva felt attending the Summit was “a once in a lifetime experience.” She says “highly formal and well organised, the conference left an enthralling impression. To my mind, it was the people from the G8 countries and also Brazil, Morocco, Lebanon and Israel that made the debate productive and interactive. After two days of discussions on two topics all the constructive ideas were presented in an official declaration which will be handed over to the University Summit in Torino. In general, it has been an honour and a privilege to represent the UWCs in such an important event.”
Viviana thinks the summit gave her a better understanding of how international political processes function: “The G8 student summit represented an opportunity of feeling involved in the improvement of the educational system and of experiencing the toughness of working through political means in order to achieve practical goals. I enjoyed the level of the discussion, thanks to the brilliant students that were there, but at the same time I felt that our meeting will have very little impact on the real G8 universities."
The student summit is the first of its kind. Organised by the Conference of Italian University Rectors and the Politecnico of Torino, in partnership with the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, the University student summit recognises the importance of including young people in the G8 debates.
The event was followed by the G8 University Summit for Presidents and Rectors of leading universities from around the world, which Peter Howe, Rettore (Head) of the UWC of the Adriatic attended. This summit took place in Turin on 17-18th May and built on the first G8 University Summit held in Sapporo, Japan in 2008. These events seek to recognise the role of academia in tackling global issues.